The practice of paying millions in ransom fees to hackers who stole or encrypted data has been ignored for many years in Australia. Experts have warned that there is a "tsunami of cyber crime" headed for the rest of the globe, according to ABC News.
Australia has seen quite a few attacks on its organizations in 2020 and 2021. The most recent attack, launched just a month ago, targeted meat supplier JBS Foods and affected 47 facilities only in Australia. Another massive cyber attack occurred in March and targeted Nine Entertainment, leaving the company unable to broadcast newscasts and produce newspapers. Logistics company Toll Holdings was hit twice by cyberattacks, in February and May.
A vicious cycle has been created in Australia, especially since money paid to criminal organizations is only fueling more crimes. The government's cybersecurity agency (ACSC) found that ransomware attacks against Australian organizations have risen by 60% in the last year.
Every year, cybercriminal groups make more money through ransom payments
Michael Sentonas, chief technology officer of Crowdstrike explained that for the last six months, the number of attacks and ransoms has substantially risen. Even within Australian organizations, few appear to be aware of the danger, maybe because of an apparent disregard for it.
CrowdStrike polled 200 top IT and security experts across Australia's main business sectors to find out what their thoughts were on possible IT and security risks. Two-thirds of Australian organizations polled in the 12-month period from November 2018 to November 2020 reported having experienced a ransomware attack. Payments were made by one-third of the 44 organizations that had been targeted.
In light of this research, it seems that the average ransom payment is $1.25 million, and at least $55 million has been paid in ransom throughout the years. According to a study released this week by the Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre (CSCRC), the worldwide economy has been affected by cybercrime costing over $1 trillion.